Leech

by nostalgia [Reviews - 1]

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“There’s something slightly parasitic about you, isn’t there, dear?” says Missy. “Something of the leech.”

He doesn’t ask her to explain, both because he doesn’t want an explanation from her and because he knows he’s going to get one anyway. Missy only raises a question if she already knows the answer. So, she thinks he’s a leech, and she’s going to tell him why. He sits silent, waiting.

“It’s those pets of yours, those little strays you keep bringing home.”

She has never been able to bring herself to call them his friends. (Missy will allow the Doctor only one friend, and she doesn’t even try to be a good one.)

“You exploit them.”

This almost makes him utter a denial, but Missy will have the perfect rebuttal prepared. Some battles are best won with silence, and this is almost certainly one of them.

She shrugs. “I suppose that’s impossible to avoid when you’re dealing with lesser species. But really, Doctor, you should be more careful. You always make such a mess.”

He could leave. He could leave her alone in the vault, let her simmer on her own for a while. It would be so much easier and safer. (Cruel, though, not to mention cowardly.)

Missy continues her monologue. “You turn them into you. Jo Grant, and Doctor Jones, and dearest little Clara, of course.” An unpleasant approximation of a fond smile twists across her lips, and she shakes her head. “That was spectacular, I really must say. Some of your best work.”

He fists his left hand, very briefly, digging his fingernails into the skin of his palm to distract from the pain.

“And that loud one, the redhead. ‘DoctorDonna,’ indeed. You must have loved that. Good for the ego, I expect.” Missy tuts. “Shame you had to rip her mind out like that. Must have hurt the poor thing.”

She smiles, stirring sugar into her tea. She copied the sugar habit from him (but not his habitual splash of milk – she’s too committed to her aesthetic for that). She got her accent from him as well, and has insisted more than once that he must have poached dark clothing from her. If he is a parasite then what is she?

She has finally stopped talking, though, and has left a silence for him to fill. Trying to argue with her would be a mistake, and futile. Opening up emotionally when she’s in a mood like this would be even worse. He shouldn’t say a word.

But he does, of course he does. He says, “Have you never wanted to connect with people? Have you never wanted to have friends?”

“No,” she says, “not if it means ending up like you.”

“Missy,” he says, losing patience, “if you don’t start thinking at least a bit like me then you’ll never get out of this vault.”

She pounces on his words, triumphant. “Ah, and there we have it, don’t we? I’m supposed to turn into you as well. Am I your latest pet, Doctor? Are you really trying to help me or are you just in need of a new demolition project?”

“I’m trying to make you better,” he protests without caution.

“I know,” she says, “and you don’t even realise how dangerous that is for both of us.” She lifts her teacup, drinks. “At least when I break people I do it on purpose.”

He flinches, and she wins.